well first off, i might as well come out and say it: I have never read any Hunter S. Thompson.
no…wait…come back, hello? so I can’t comment on the how much the film represents Hunters work, or whatever, but you know, I’ve seen Fear and Loathing..
you still here? oh ok….
The film is a pretty straight chronological biopic, running through Hunter’s life and writing career from the early days riding with the Hell’s Angels to his suicide in 2005. The director has access to home movie footage, interviews with Thompson’s nearest and dearest and an awesome narrator in Johnny Depp.
What rings out through the film however is Thompson’s language; powerful, frighteningly inventive, dark and scathing; my god he was talented. The extracts of his writing balance out the home video footage of his misdemeanours.
Hunter created a public persona, an exaggerated version of himself which propelled him to notoriety but was, in its most pure sense self-destructive. Hunter seems kinda like that guy, that everyone knows, the life and soul of the party, whose trademark consumption of drugs and alcohol is what they do. It starts off fun, but as time goes on it becomes sadder and sadder, until you can’t watch anymore.
‘it’d be much better if i died, then people could take the myth and make films’
There’s something in this telling of his story which deeply depresses me, and its hard for me to say if this is because it accurately reflects Thompson’s world view or just one particular reading of it. This is basically a tale of imagination, intelligence and idealism growing old and giving up, a letting go of the belief that the world doesn’t have to be run by cunts, that individuals and communities can make a positive difference against all the fucked up, abusive mechanisms of power in the world.
and this scares me so much because in my darkest moments, i subscribe to this view too.
For me, Hunter’s first wife sums it up, when talking about his suicide; she comments that some people think what he did was brave, but that she thinks just the opposite…
‘i think this is a time when an on top Hunter S. Thompson could have made a real difference to America….it was self indulgent’
Anyway that’s it, i gotta go, got some Hunter S. Thompson to read…